Cedar County Investing in Future Workforce
WLC’s Cedar County business partners are reaping the benefits of investing in the future workforce through WLC programing.
“Students may stay here after graduation or proceed with a two-year tech degree or four-year degree, but we want them to know there are opportunities for employment here in Tipton. Businesses are on board to provide work-based learning and this can be achieved through these [WLC] internships,” shares Linda Beck, Tipton Development Director.
The impact of engagement is valuable. Tipton HS senior and WLC intern Bryce Deeberg was interested in computer-aided design and wanted to see that career in a machining environment. Bryce was placed at Cummings Manufacturing in Tipton. Not only was this a valuable experience for Bryce, but it also introduced Cummins Manufacturing to local talent. Cummins Manufacturing recently extended Bryce a job offer.
“He’s an excellent student and just a great kid. We are so pleased to have Bryce with us now,” shares Abby Cummins, Human Resources, Cummins Manufacturing.
Over the last two years, WLC has placed 84 Cedar County high school students in internships, allowing nearly 75 percent of Cedar County students to be placed with local businesses. Bryce’s story is just one of many great examples of the impact collaborative efforts have on bringing awareness and opportunities to local talent and the future workforce.
Not engaged with your future workforce? Get connected
Future Ready Summit
WLC staff, business partner Barbara Burns (UnityPoint) and education partner Tara Troester (Cedar Rapids School District) joined others from the Iowa Intermediary Network on April 3 to share how they connect students, schools, higher education, business and industry to provide work-based learning experiences. WLC represented the Iowa Intermediary Network
as an Intermediary “best practice.”
Health Care Sector Board Supports WLC
The Health Care Sector Board, a group of local healthcare professionals, are promoting health care career awareness and engaging talent and future workforce through collaboration with WLC programming.
“Local health care professionals understand the value of bringing career awareness to our local middle school and high school students,” shares Sue Neil, WLC Business Liaison.
Health care careers made up 34 percent of WLC’s job shadow requests, 27 percent of WLC’s internships. In addition, Health Care Sector Board members presented at nearly 30 career speaker events during the 2017/2018 school year. According to Neil, the Health Care Sector Board helped to create opportunities for students to experience careers through job shadows and internships. They also co-hosted events such as the Healthcare Expo, which was attended by over 160 students.
“The Healthcare Expo hosts high school students in the Kirkwood Health Care Academy. It brings awareness to future opportunities, including regional in-demand careers in healthcare, networking opportunities for students and information on preparing for next steps,” says Neil.
Volunteers Needed for Spring 2018 Financial Literacy Fair!
WLC’s Financial Literacy Fairs are just around the corner and volunteer opportunities are still available. WLC’s Financial Literacy Fairs provide a unique opportunity for community volunteers to connect with area middle school students as they learn about basic financial decisions needed in life.
WLC will host eighth-grade students from Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones, Johnson, Linn and Washington counties. This year’s fairs will be held April 17 in Iowa County, April 18 in Washington County, April 23-27 in Johnson County and May 7-18 in Linn County. Become a volunteer today at WLC Volunteer Now.
Faces of WLC
Meet Laura Kowalski-Bliss, WLC Internship Coordinator for Benton, Cedar and Jones counties. Laura is passionate about providing students the opportunities to explore various careers.
“There are so many bright and hard-working students that aren’t sure of their plans after high school. I want them to have the chance to gather as much information as possible to help them make decisions about what their next steps will be,” shares Kowalski-Bliss.
Laura utilizes her strengths in individualization and relator to connect students and business hosts.
“I love having the opportunity to interview each student I place in an internship and delve into their interests and skills and then find the best opportunity for them,” shares Kowalski-Bliss. “[I also love] coming across formers students that are now employed by their former WLC internship business hosts. Some of them started right out of high school and others have completed their education and come back.”
Outside of WLC, Laura is married to husband Richard Bliss and they have two teenage children, Josie and Alex, and two dogs, all who keep Laura on her toes.
“Working part time with WLC gives me the opportunity to be there for my children and have a chance to do something I feel really strong about.”
Linn County Regional Center
1770 Boyson Road, Hiawatha, Iowa 52233
319-398-1040 | 319-398-1041 (fax)
Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
2301 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville, Iowa 52241
319-887-3970 | 319-358-3102 (fax)